Leave it to the fashion industry to remind us of what we can't afford and, like salt in the wound, to create a new buzz phrase to attract international shoppers - “NYC is on sale.”
PR efforts by NYC & Company, the city's official marketing and tourism organization, are now geared toward the flood of international tourists on the streets of NYC who are looking to get more bang for their buck as the dollar continues to weaken against the Euro, the Pound, and even the Looney. In keeping with the economic times, the city curbed its message accordingly.
Although the city's tourism has by no means suffered from the ongoing, global-felt lull in travel, the weakening dollar has created an urgency for foreigners to travel to NYC and a heightened excitement to shop, explained Christopher Heywood, director of tourism PR at NYC & Company.
Although fashion consumes only a part of the multifaceted city's PR message abroad, Heywood said that it's more a part of it than in the past.
NYC & Company touts international, fashion-enhanced media outreach, PR initiatives, and ads. In Milan, the office recently announced the expansion of its global PR campaign into the Italian marketplace and a joint promotional outreach program with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To encourage Italians to visit NYC, The Met went to Milan to show a preview of its upcoming and new exhibits, including its Costume Institute.
“Our story was permeating every subject [from business to travel]," Heywood said. "Now, it's in the fashion and style sections. We see a convergence of fashion and tourism."
This past Friday, the Guardian ran one such story attesting to the popularity of American brands such as Ralph Lauren, Levis, and Diane von Furstenberg, and the “Just Ask the Locals” campaign as a means to “cope with [the] British invasion” and “encourage the locals to be nice to the high-rolling tourists.”
“We're…speaking about the advantage of the weak dollar until we're almost blue in face, and deputy fashion editors are including us in the story, almost like they're writing about the story [itself],” Heywood added.
“In the absence of hard ad dollars, PR helps fill [a] void.”
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